Prep and Setup
You'd be amazed at how many people skip this stuff about getting entire sound in the studio coming to the studio with your gear prepped your aunt and your guitar make sure your guitars intimated I mean uh I mean how in the early days you rolled in no, no guitar is not even in case you're just like kind of dragging it like you go this just got walks in just like with okay right forward on the floor guitars all duct taped up and there's like you know it's just no but it's true like you be amazing I dealt with that more times and especially in the early days were dealing like a lot of the punk bands like that guy's role in the guitar is not in the case it's so just adam whack like, you know no matter where you go on the front the strings air like this high up on the off the fretboard and you know, a lot of time on things like that yeah, you you'd be amazed at how much time you spend, like just on tuning like in getting intonation right and everything like that so and playing things in dif...
ferent spots than you really want to just because you have to because you can't because there's a street that's transpose it right? Oh that's that's not that poor or the nightmare of like proper improper intonation it's like where I've had to do it where? It's, just the most grueling, agonizing thing where you're literally punching in like almost according to time because like this court sounds in, you know, but move up three threats and it's out so you guys like to get its differently for the court has to be to know that it's hard to have done that more than I'd like to I know it's, yeah, exactly, because we like some of the high stuff like when you get up there where it gets really weird it's not right, we'll build into that a little bit, but insinuated probably really go goto a guy you know, if you if you there's there's resource is on the internet to show you you couldn't do it yourself, you can incident a guitar yourself, but it's best especially if you're not earlier, at least bring it to a guy that you trust bringing so there's plenty of guys, even if the music's, the big music change they were taken referred you a guitar center I think usually haven't house because high yeah, and even though they like online lying that stuff for ads, I'll do all five years but there's a few school guitar shops, you could find a guy somewhere close to you that will internet your guitar addressing the threats which is also important, like they need to file the french down because sometimes eventually over the times fred get worn out. This that's metal on metal there they will eventually get soft, flat spots and soft spots in them. And you need to file the franks down on. Just get make sure everything is it's all even the responses even all the way up, up and down the neck on bill, adjust the neck if the neck is that of ah linemen that has a bow on it. And it's pulling the wrong way it's all that stuff, they do all that. And then you know your electronics. Make sure the pots are in good shape. Maybe there, especially if you're doing any you want to do, like volume swells or anything like that in your posture. Scratchy that's not going to do and you know let's, let's, let's, bring it down. That's not going to do any that's. Not gonna do you any good. So make sure your pots are in good shape. And another simple thing. If you are as active electronics, is the battery fresh, you know, plug in and it's, like, you know, sometimes with actives especially, um, the guitar will it'll still passing in a work but you like huh? And then like then you get to that point were right where it's just about to die and it's like what does it sound so weird? It's just like it's just you know, you realize you were tracking you realize you were tracking for half an hour that yeah, exactly so simple stuff you know, make sure the batteries fresh make sure the electron is in good shape and I would highly recommend taking it to somebody or learning how to do it yourself. I mean, that's great if you want to save money there's you very easy to learn how to do it yourself. So also another one in the studio gets, um, you know, get as if you're making a whole record, you know, make sure you have enough strings. And again, this is all basic stuff, but just, you know, harper lee's go well what? Especially when you're going for like it really aggressive like tight medal of kind of stuff, you know, fresh strings that's a big part of the attack of the guitar. You know, when you're usually so like musicians or poor, you know, they try and out the change they trained a stranger breaks, but like right when you're breaking a record for strength have a huge effect on your could tart on a huge effect and it's not like, don't you know all these guys probably try to talk you into saying it's part of my son e but you know what? Some people sometimes it is sometimes that works like a ball of work with, like done sessions like r and b kind of stuff in the bass players, right? They want that stray want that string. James jamerson was a notorious guy, old famous motown guys, a ton of motown records, he would never change a strength unless one broke and that was his sound like that kind of dulled out like that was like his that was his thing and, you know, and then social jazz to, like dollar strings lodges, guys like, you know, that's part of the thing part of that sound like, you know, you don't want, especially if you're comping cores and jazz and you're moving around fresh strings, you're going to get so much squeak and then when they're all worn in that's going to be smooth, you're going to be sliding through the cords and it's gonna be great and that's, you know, they have to think about that kind of thing, but for, like revealing with my thing, which is mostly rock and heavy stuff, you know you want fresh strings, you want to get that that proper attack doesn't you're amped same thing also the pots on the and make sure that you know the pots on scratching on the end make sure all the parts work sometimes they get especially live your if that's your live rig things getting bumped around sensei you know the the one of the parkes is bad and scott a weird spot a dead spot on the pot that might be the spot where the guitar is off more often than not the dead spot that happens on the the pot on the amp is the kind of like where it's been sitting the sweet spot book so it's like low how we dial that is that if right way get to that point it's like cutting in and out so you've got to make sure that the pots are all there um the tubes make sure the tube's aaron are in good shape for the most part to bless for a fairly long time but again um especially when I'm working with guys and working with their live set up you know when things get knocked around and tubes get little things in them and they loosen up from the base and they want it getting micro phonic so when they go microphone nick it'll really mess with your sound and a quick and easy way to check with that is to not plug in the guitar turn the amp on off stand by and turn up the gain turn it up loud and if it starts oscillating by itself without anything plugged in, that means your tubes, they're going have gone microphone, nick and you need to figure out which one they are and replace them. And usually, if power tubes you want replace the whole set preemptive, you can get away with place in just the bad one. It's good to have extra preemptive it's good to have rights, it's going to be parents good to have extra tubes in the studio just in case we've had to do it often once something's not working with your app it's just a simple is a preemptive like that's. Really? It's not, you know, so many people send these amps to get fit like we can't record that we got sent are rampant and all this stuff and it's a lot of times it's just a preemptive it's very it's simpson sometimes it's very simple like that. Uh oh, another way to check if the tube there microphone nick also is also just like with the game out, just tapping them slightly and micro finance bill. Yeah, your finger with a fingernail or just the pencil over the microphone one you will hear it'll ring in a different way and you'll be able to tell, um and then you know what are the speakers in the cabinet all working? I know it's a simple stuff but you'd be surprised more often than not I come in it's like you know there it's hard players oh yeah it's all working and then like like no this speaker's dead like out of a four twelve one speaker will be dead and it will still pass down the cabinet's going toe obviously still work and you can still make it but you know what? The omens of the cabinet is now different because that one speakers dead and that's going to affect the head and that's gonna affect how the head responders may it's only one speaker working this's true arrests have holes in them but no but yeah once once you have a speaker that goes dead, then the actual image changes and it changed the response of the head so you know, sometimes that's not a bad thing but in general as a good starting point making sure all your speakers are working it is a pretty good, pretty good thing so strings and prep more into prep sh rings it's really aa lot of times it's it's based on player preferences based on feel I know going on on the bass player side of things it's definitely a lot more thing, especially from playing with my fingers it's like a you know different types different brains of strings are much harder especially cause the strings air winding zahra bigger and there you know sometimes it's about player comfort with some strings will really tear your fingers up if you don't have enough callouses um but it's it's really just you know, the two two main types for electric are our nickel and steal and generally steele has a brighter a little more of a brighter uh edgier tone and nickel is a little bit I mean they're still bright but they're you know they're they're warmer they also had you also have those uh coded strings was elixirs and they're interesting because there uh they don't go dead is quick so in the studio that could be a time saver but they're definitely different as a base like they don't ever go they don't go dead very easily but they're never that right there just consistent and you know then that can work and you can you know different strings have different shelf life's too so you can kind of look online and and, you know, compare like reviews on strange and things like that for what you going you know and get a box and bring him in there because you have different um goals I guess people of different goals yeah it's just it's really you know honestly you've got to really take it to yourself because even among like you said among the strings even all the same, like steel strings are all nickel strings, certain ones are going to sound brighter to you and certain ones. It's, it's really it's really a question of just preference, like, you know, whatever I'm using or any balls are, you know, d ours or whatever it's like it's it's, really? Whatever works for you, it's and again, it's part of player comfort like those elixir strings, those coded strings, they're they're a little there, they're definitely nice feeling to play because they're very they're smooth, but again, it's, you know, I'm not nationally preferential to them, but a lot of people swear by him, I've done plenty of records that people use the lectures, and I've gotten great guitar sounds with him, so but it's really it's a more of a personal preference, um, and then moving on to picks and their impact on how the end tone is again player preference, but I will have I will say that depending on how hard you play and your style of of your style of attack on the strings, you should try match the pick closer to what you're doing because my general rule of thumb like I love, like the on the dunlap torre tex seventy five, the yellow ones. They're kind of ah mid range that kind of like a good balance and I always like the the I get for especially for the mute picking stuff I like I love the attack they get a really nice sharp like good attack when you attacked the string of certain right no, they're not going to do now that has effect on it to um but like for instance then he uses these like I always called him shingles from a house because of these giant wedges but his usual the's a tortilla chips but he his are not seventy three's they are the next thing up I think eighty eight c one hundred eighty eight yeah so because ben happens to play very, very hard, very aggressive and that we use the yellow ones to thinner ones and they can work for some things but for some reason you know these and I won't ever a lot of times I'll tell players like maybe you want to try going to try a little bit of a thinner pick the next time through because it might actually brighten up the toner might give you a little more attack, but for ben thing this works great for him he's always used these and this is what works and you know we've switched up things for different around like telling you why would you use something so big it's crazy but it's like the the end part the tip which is going toe you know connect with the strings is the same as any other pick on ly I have I have three different options three different one says they get though I can keep turning and keep using it plus I never even thought of that live on mom I'm sweating and I'm playing so aggressively I have more surface to grab on to um and then on top of that john like like you said, I do play very aggressively so having more service to grab onto it gives me more ability to really does kind of and attack the strings anchors and tax it and that's a huge part of my tone so it's a preference um and then debuting strings well, you know, we didn't even grab a thing the way never you never even grabbed that stock off but this is a big thing in the studio and just to for instance, I mean this this can work the players advantage but this is a big thing on a very simple thing in the studio, especially with a split head stock which is meaning like three on each side the toothpicks three on each side what you get is this this thing right here that tendency, especially with an amp and especially with feedback when you hear the sound coming in this when you're playing in your and you stop you'll hear you'll actually hear this thing residents almost like a reverb and for the most part, you know there's times where you want that sound but for the most part for like tight rhythm kind of stuff you generally don't want it so we always wrap something the piece of cloth uh some people use like a hair tie they put it around there sometimes that's hard to get over the the tuning pegs but we take a usually a piece of cloth could be even a tissue paper, you know and then tape it down and just muting the string so this is quiet we prepped the guitar to prep the guitar have more control another one very simple I know and again very simple but clip your clipped the strings because that literally then here they they actually make noise and you can you will actually hear that and sometimes with this thing that sometimes depending on the guitar and the length of the stop tail piece with the tuna matic style bridge sometimes like this one, it probably wouldn't be because it's a little it's a little shorter but sometimes this because this one short so it's there's it's it's there's not a lot of ring on this but some guitars on the other version of that e s p yeah, but some of them are it's a much it's longer depending on the scale also there there much longer and there's more chance for things to ring here so we'll wind up like shoving again taping this off for shoving the piece of foam in there anything and it's just simple sometimes that even go as far as to put cloth will open up the back of the guitar on screw and put cloth in the guitar yeah because sometimes there's noise coming from things moving around in there springs especially right especially on guitars with a floating tremolo system the springs will actually same thing when you stop the springs will resonate like a spring reverb so you need so like well shove foam in there and put the cover back on again all those details out all those little details that just you know you're just so you can prep the guitar better for just make sure that you're just getting that you're creating the best possible environment to achieve what you want sometimes you want those things to ring and sometimes you know I can we play into my drink you're grabbing that you know you're hitting ahead stock in your you know, that's part of the sound that's part of what you're doing but ultimately I mean you're isolating just the strings and I mean I imagine that those I mean when you're damping those pieces you know it does something to the actual strength tone but I mean not too much all together is that yeah well again, if it if it winds up choking it then we want up like you know, oh, maybe let's let's loosen up a little bit let's try and find a balance where we're not choking to telling because generally you're you're not goingto it's not going to choke the tone out meeting at the head stock like that but yeah that's you just have to strike always strike the balance because, uh, if you wind up yeah meeting a too much then it's not good and you want a closing up the guitar and you know, honestly but that's also going on even how you're you're you're the guitar is resonating when you're playing if you're playing more like this or you're playing standing up that's a big thing and I try to encourage that as much I mean, sometimes you have people do sit down because they want to, like focus on a little bit more it's a technical part or whatever but I mean is playing tons of how you stand it's like stand up play let's go because it's like that's what you live, you're not sitting on a stool live mr robert fripp or somebody like that like he sat on a stool that most people don't you know you you need tio trying to capture that thing that intangible that whatever that is it's live you know the studio itself you know, in in itself, it can be a very sterile kind of stifling techie kind of environment. And I'm trying to, like, just throw that out the window as much as I can, while still being able to, like, technically, get the capture, the best tones. But, yeah, we're trying to always really just get too nice away. What they are trying to, right, exactly.